I’m going to delay part two of the Morton’s neuroma thriller just once more, which I imagine no one will protest, as I’ve received no comments specifically on the issue of neuromas.
I want to go back to last week’s subject, because TriAgain made an important comment.
First, I have a fear sometimes of becoming facile, of lapsing into can-do boosterism and tired platitudes (“Just move! You just need to move!”). That’s one reason that I liked last week’s subject, on breakdown points, because I remember doing some hard, original thinking for the first post, a few years ago.
What TriAgain put his finger on (“there may also be other systemic problems”) was a really difficult, intriguing piece that I honestly don’t have much of a clue about (and neither do your doctors, I suspect). Yes, there are breakdown points, and when you lurch beyond one, you can suddenly go from the blissful absence of any pain whatsoever to a nagging injury that just gets worse and worse.
But once you’re on the wrong side of no pain/pain, is it simply a matter of fixing an overstressed structural component (cartilage or whatever) to return to a previous healthful, pain-free state?
Maybe not. As anyone who read my book knows, I turned into a bit of a mess. At one point, it wasn’t just my knees but tendinitis in both forearms, along with terrible back pain. Happily, once I conquered the knee issue, I also managed to get on top of the other problems. So I did succeed in crossing the no pain/pain divide in the right direction.
But what exactly were those other problems? Were they related? And, if they were, perhaps once some malevolent systemic genie has been released from its cave, it can be really hard to get that thing quieted down and back inside again.
I know TriAgain suspects that complex regional pain syndrome is at least partly to blame for what his knee pain has morphed into. After checking out the CRPS symptoms, I can say that most of them don’t align with what I had.
When I had the chronic knee pain inflammation/irritation, I started to get the feeling that I was chasing a poltergeist that was loose in a many-roomed house. If my knees felt a little better on a particular day, some other joint would feel a little worse. Very weird, I thought. So I asked my general physician if all the joint pain could be related, and he assured me “no,” with this look as if he were humoring a naive child.
But the more I read everyone’s stories here, the more I am convinced that there is very often something systemic that slips in through the back door with chronic knee pain. It isn’t there at first. And it isn’t there for everyone. But I almost get goose pimples on my arms on reading all these accounts of knee pain sufferers who thought they too had rheumatoid arthritis.
So sometimes, when I’m rattling off my thoughts on healing and feeling a bit facile (in that way you can be when your chronic pain recedes to a distant memory), I get a little jerk-back to reality and sense of humility on realizing there’s a whole lot I never did understand. Like whatever that systemic issue was.
With knee pain, I believe there can be a kind of ghost in the machine, a nasty something rattling around inside you, wreaking havoc. But how that thing works, I really don’t know. Hopefully, in the years to come, someone in the medical field will discover some answers to the questions we have about that systemic part, and I can report back the findings.